Update 6/17/2022: We’ve identified an additional probable case of monkeypox virus in an adult male in King County. The investigation is in the early stages. More details may become available next week.
Please visit kingcounty.gov/monkeypox for future updates on case counts.
Here’s answers to a few key questions about monkeypox and see below for additional information.
Four questions and answers about monkeypox
How is monkeypox spread? Through close, direct contact with someone who has the monkeypox virus (usually a rash, sores or scabs from a person with monkeypox) or items they have used.
What are the symptoms? A rash or sores on the body or on certain parts (such as the genitals, anus, mouth, hands or face). Sores may look like pimples or blisters. Flu-like symptoms, such as swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, headaches or muscle aches, exhaustion may occur before a rash or sores.
Who is at risk? Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk. To date, most cases have involved gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and are currently at a greater risk of exposure because the virus is spreading in some MSM social circles and networks.
What should I do if I notice symptoms such as an unexplained rash?
• Do not have sex or other close physical contact (such as kissing, cuddling, massaging and touching) if you or your sex partners feel sick or have a rash or sores.
• Do not go to parties or gatherings if you feel sick or have a rash or sores.
• Wash your hands, sex toys, towels and bedding before and after sex or other close physical contact.
• Call your health care provider right away if you have symptoms. In King County, symptomatic patients can be evaluated at the Public Health – Seattle & King County Sexual Health Clinic, open M/W/TH/F 7:30 am – 6:00 pm and Tuesday 9:30 am – 6:00 pm.
For more information, visit kingcounty.gov/monkeypox
Update 6/16/2022: A second probable case of monkeypox virus has been identified in an adult male with international travel in the past month to a country that has also reported monkeypox cases recently. The individual is not hospitalized and is isolating at home.
At this time, we have not identified any high-risk exposures in King County, and we are following up with people who had potential low or intermediate risk exposures. Initial testing confirming an orthopoxviral infection was completed on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at the Washington State Public Health Laboratory. Positive cases of orthopoxvirus are considered likely monkeypox, and confirmatory testing happens at CDC.
Future case counts will be updated at www.kingcounty.gov/monkeypox
Previous post from May, 23, 2022 – Public Health – Seattle & King County, with support from Washington State Department of Health, is investigating a case of monkeypox virus infection reported to Public Health yesterday. The case is in an adult male with international travel in the past month to a country that has also reported monkeypox cases recently. Initial testing confirming an orthopoxviral infection was completed on Monday, May 23, 2022, at the Washington State Public Health Laboratory. Confirmatory testing was done at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and announced on 5/27/22.
Public Health is working with the patient and the patient’s health care providers to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient while he was infectious. The individual is isolating and does not pose a risk to others at this time. We have not identified any high-risk exposures in King County, and we are following up with people who had potential low risk exposures.
The individual was not hospitalized and is recovering at home.
“The public and healthcare providers should be aware of the growing international monkeypox outbreak,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “At this time, we have no evidence that monkeypox is spreading locally, but if there are unrecognized cases, that is a possibility.”
“People should understand that the disease can affect anyone and those who are most at risk are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox. The risk is not limited to men who have sex with men.
“Anyone who has symptoms of monkeypox, or has been in close contact with someone with monkeypox, should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. This is especially important for those who have also traveled in the last 30 days to a region reporting monkeypox cases, or who is a man who has sex with other men.”
“We at DOH continue to work with Public Health – Seattle & King County and CDC to support the investigation of this case. The risk to the public is low, but it’s important for clinicians and the public to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors for monkeypox,” said Dr. Tao Kwan-Gett, Washington State Chief Science Officer.
Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that is uncommon in the U.S. The illness can begin with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes followed by a rash on the face and body or with an isolated rash in the genital or groin area, sometimes without other symptoms. When the rash involves the groin, it can be mistaken for other more common causes of sexually transmitted infections.
People should be alert for the appearance of new rashes characterized by sores, bumps or fluid filled bumps and seek medical evaluation if they develop such a rash.
Most people recover in 2-4 weeks, but the disease can be serious, especially for immunocompromised people, children, and pregnant women.
The virus does not spread easily between people; transmission can occur through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets (saliva) from a case entering the eyes or mouth following prolonged face-to-face contact.
For updated case numbers please visit the CDC’s webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox.
Guidance for public
People who may have symptoms of monkeypox should contact their healthcare provider. This includes anyone who:
- Had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox
- Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party)
- Traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing.
Guidance for healthcare providers
Based on recent cases, healthcare providers should consider people with a new characteristic rash without an alternative diagnosis as a suspect monkeypox case, or if there is a high clinical suspicion of monkeypox based on CDC criteria. Please report suspected cases immediately to Public Health at 206-296-4774.
In King County, symptomatic patients can be evaluated in the Public Health – Seattle & King County Sexual Health Clinic, open M/W/TH/F 7:30 am – 6:00 pm and Tuesday 9:30 am – 6:00 pm.
For more about this virus, visit www.kingcounty.gov/monkeypox and https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/.
Originally published 5/23/22; updated on 5/31/22 and 6/16/22